The Times does these "On the Cheap" features, whereby a top interior designer is paired with a design-challenged New Yorker, helping them to redesign one room in their house on a strict budget. This one focused on Harrice Miller, a costume jewelry dealer and historian, who also produces concerts of Indian classical music, an interest she gained during a 1999 trip to Gujarat, India. She hosts dinner parties and jam sessions for musicians in her home, but didn't have a proper place for them to stay, as her guest room was being used for storage. She decided it was time to convert the spare room into a little jewel box reminiscent of those she saw in Indian palaces.
Enter Vincente Wolf, a minimalist designer who favors serene, neutral interiors with clean, modern decor. Two examples of his work:
Based on the tone of the article, this was not a client-designer match made in heaven. Ms. Miller essentially requested a "theme" room, which no self-respecting interior designer wants his/her name associated with. However, despite their rocky start, Mr. Wolf did the right thing: he managed to give the client what she wanted without compromising his own integrity and point of view. Not an easy task, folks. Rather than creating a room with literal references to Indian decor, Mr. Wolf evoked the feeling of an Indian cocoon with rich, vibrant colors, textures and textiles, while also incorporating the client's own furniture, accessories and artwork.
The result, as you can see, is absolutely phenomenal. The client was floored (she wanted to move into the room), and the designer was surprised at how much pleasure he gained from stepping outside his comfort zone of neutrals. Both parties stretched a bit and, as a result, found common ground by opening their minds a bit. You can't for more in a collaboration like this.
All photos by Matthew Williams for the New York Times